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Author Carroll, William C., 1945-

Title Fat king, lean beggar : representations of poverty in the age of Shakespeare / William C. Carroll
Published Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1996


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
 W'PONDS  820.33 Z53 C3192  AVAILABLE
Description xiii, 237 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents 1. Discourses of Poverty -- 2. Thomas Harman and The Caveat for Commen Cursetors -- 3. Bedlam and Bridewell -- 4. "The Perill of Infection": Vagrancy, Sedition, and 2 Henry VI -- 5. "Would Not the Beggar Then Forget Himself?": Christopher Sly and Autolycus -- 6. "The Base Shall Top th'Legitimate": King Lear and the Bedlam Beggar -- 7. "Is Poverty a Vice?": The Disguise of Beggary
Summary Carroll begins with a broad survey of both the official images and explanations of poverty and also their unsettling unofficial counterparts. This discourse defines and contains the beggar by continually linking him with his hierarchical inversion, the king. Carroll then turns his attention to the exemplary case of Nicholas Genings, perhaps the single most famous beggar of the period, whose machinations as fraudulent parasite and histrionic genius were chronicled by Thomas Harman. Carroll next assesses institutional responses to poverty by considering two hospitals for the destitute, Bridewell and Bedlam, and their role as real and symbolic places in Elizabethan drama
Fat King, Lean Beggar then focuses on dramatic inscriptions of poverty, primarily in Shakespeare's plays. Carroll's analysis of The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter's Tale links the tradition of the merry beggar to the socioeconomic forces of the day; and his reading of King Lear makes a case for the uniqueness of Edgar, the Bedlam beggar, in the history of drama. Carroll also considers later plays such as Fletcher and Massinger's Beggars' Bush and Richard Brome's Jovial Crew to show how idealizations of the beggar ironically equate him with a monarch in his supposed freedom
Investigating representations of poverty in Tudor-Stuart England, Fat King, Lean Beggar reveals the gaps and outright contradictions in what poets, pamphleteers, government functionaries, and dramatists of the period said about beggars and vagabonds. William C. Carroll analyzes these conflicting "truths" and reveals the various aesthetic, political, and socio-economic purposes Renaissance constructions of beggary were made to serve
Analysis English drama
English drama
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 217-230) and index
Subject Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Political and social views.
Beggars in literature.
Literature and society -- England -- History -- 16th century.
Literature and society -- England -- History -- 17th century.
Poor in literature.
Poverty in literature.
Literature -- english
Literature -- history.
Social Class -- in literature
LC no. 95037296
ISBN 0801431859 (cloth : alk. paper)